I was in California last week visiting my friends Spoons and Kathy, and I noticed that they had a copy of Peter Berley’s newest cookbook, The Flexitarian Table. They said they never use it and that I could take it with me to Germany. Although the cookbook isn’t actually vegetarian, every menu has a vegetarian option, so it’s very vegetarian friendly. This recipe for navy bean, fresh pea, and leek soup caught my eye because it calls for sauerkraut, and (under my mother’s telephonic tutelage) I just finished making a big batch of sauerkraut right before I left for California. On my return, faced with a near-empty fridge brandishing two quart jars of sauerkraut, I decided to give this recipe a try.
The recipe is quite simple. You saute the sliced leeks with a little mint and salt, then add green peas (mine were frozen), cooked white beans, and bean liquid or water. You simmer until the peas are tender then add sauerkraut.
I followed the recipe pretty closely, using a tablespoon each of butter and olive oil, 200g of chopped leeks and 179g of cooked white beans. I didn’t have four cups of bean liquid so I made up the rest with water and one bouillon cube. My sauerkraut was made with caraway seeds, but I couldn’t taste it in the final soup. I probably put in a little bit more than the 1 tablespoon of mint the recipe calls for.
Derek was not excited when I said I was making soup, but he quite liked the final dish. He thought it had lemon or vinegar, and was surprised when I told him all the acid comes from the sauerkraut. He said that I wouldn’t have been sent home if I was on top chef. High praise from a top chef fan!
I liked the soup as well. The peas, beans, leeks, and sauerkraut all add different textures, and although there’s not a lot of mint you can definitely taste it. It’s a relatively simple but interesting soup. And reasonably healthy too (other than being a bit salty). It’s also a nice recipe for the spring if you can get fresh peas. Even if you can’t, it feels more spring-like than wintery to me, perhaps because it’s so brothy.
The recipe makes about five bowls of soup, and one bowl has about 175 calories (57% carbs, 15% protein, 28% fat). It’s a good source of fiber and vitamin B3 and a reasonable source of folate and iron.
I’m very behind on my blog and so I’m going to try to do a bunch of posts today, but in reverse order. So I’m blogging the most recently made recipes first. Stay tuned.
Update June 2016: I made this for lunch today, and Derek said it was … good. But he wasn’t so excited. I enjoyed it, but I cut down on salt and added quite a bit more sauerkraut than the recipe calls for. And more mint and white beans. I just used water for the broth and it was a bit bland. It would have been better to use vegetable broth of bouillon I think. I cut up the sauerkraut into small pieces for Alma, as she still hates anything stringy. She ate her bowl mostly without complaints. I don’t think she loved it but the presence of green peas helped win her over.